How to Keep Donuts Fresh Overnight

Whether you have leftover donuts or need to deliver a box or two to a special event, here's how to store donuts so they are as close to bakery fresh as possible.

overhead view of box of a dozen donuts

Jennifer Valencia / EyeEm / Getty Images

You can never go wrong with a fresh doughnut, served straight out of the fryer or still warm with glaze. But sometimes, you've got to plan ahead and pick up a box of doughnuts the day before an event, so your guests (or, let's be real, you) can enjoy these baked goods bright and early. Or maybe you've somehow been left with a box of leftover doughnuts from the office.

Don't Refrigerate or Freeze Donuts

The good news is that storing doughnuts for optimal freshness is pretty straightforward. You don't have to make space in your fridge for a box. In fact, Jen Greif, pastry chef at Dough in Tampa, Florida, recommends against it.

And unlike bread or croissants, which you should freeze as soon as you know you won't be eating them in a day or two, doughnuts probably shouldn't be frozen. "While you can freeze doughnuts, I would not recommend due to the fact that the icing will melt and become tacky," Greif wrote. "They just won't be the same as fresh!"

Storing a Few Donuts

"To best keep doughnuts overnight, wrap them in a napkin and store in a paper bag," Grief wrote in an email.

Storing a Box of Donuts

Wrapping napkins around a few dozen donuts you picked up the night before for the following morning's work meeting or Sunday donut time isn't realistic, however. For overnight storage, simply keeping the closed boxes of donuts in a cool spot (on your counter or in a cupboard) will work just fine.

And remember, even if you know they are not straight from the bakery, no one else needs to be in on it. It's not very often that a crowd fails to happily descend on a pristine box of donuts, after all.

Stack of Glazed Donuts with the Top Donut Covered in Sprinkles, and Leaning Next to the Stack, a Glazed Donut with a Bite Missing, All on a Platter. In the Background, a Two Mugs of Coffee and Another Platter of Glazed Donuts

Simply Recipes / Mark Beahm

How to Revive Stale Donuts

If your doughnuts have gotten stale, the best way to soften them is to put them in the microwave. Greif recommends nuking them at 15-second intervals. (Just keep in mind that if you're reheating a doughnut with jelly inside that the filling will get very hot, and if it's got a glaze or frosting, that'll probably melt a bit.)

If you don't have a microwave, or are just feeling like you should accept the stale doughnuts for what they are, you can always use your leftover doughnuts to make doughnut twist on French toast casserole. But if you store them correctly, hopefully you'll be able to enjoy these doughnuts for as long as possible—or until you get your hands on a fresh batch.

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